Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has given a new speech addressing the violence within his country. He has not publicly addressed the issues in his country in several months, since his interview with Barbara Walters, in which he claimed “no guilt” for the bloodshed.
Speaking to the press today, Assad stated, “No wise person denies these international conspiracies that (are) being done in order to spread fear inside. But this time, it was done with people from inside.”
He added, “I would like to confirm that there were no orders by any departments of the state to fire on people.” His words were met with resistance by Syrian oppositional groups and the Arab League, who has sent monitors into the country to oversee peace efforts.
Assad also claimed that the Arab League has been working against Syria rather than helping. “We have been working for years to create an office to boycott Israel. But in weeks they did it against Syria. Are they swapping Israel for Syria?”
Arab League Chief Nabil al-Arabi stated that there had been “irresponsible action and acts of violence against the league’s observers.” The League holds Assad’s regime “totally responsible” for the violence against monitors.
Assad took power in 2000 after the death of his father. Syrians upset with the violent actions of the regime began protesting nearly one year ago, and the death toll currently stands at over 5,000. Assad stated, “I rule with the rule of the people. If I give up power, I will do so with the will of the people, too.”
This is not the first time Assad has said such things, though world leaders and civilians alike are calling for him to step aside for the good of the country.